Lakers/Jazz Game Two Chat

Kurt —  April 21, 2009

NBA 2009: Lakers Beat Jazz 113-100
It’s a good sign that normally nervous Lakers fans biggest concerns yesterday were whether the fans at Staples should be doing the “We Want Tacos” or “Utah Sucks” chant and if they are in bad taste. (I personally think the second chant is in bad taste, while the tacos just taste bad.) It was a great game to be at.

In some ways it was a perfect game for the coaches — the outcome was never in doubt but there was plenty for the coaches to pick apart and push the team on after the game. For example, the play in the entire second half, particularly on defense. In the first half the Lakers were moving their feet and bigs were rotating well, in the second half they got lazy and that led to penetration by Utah’s guards, sloppy reach ins by Lakers players leading to fouls, and a horrid job keeping the Jazz off the offensive glass.

Darius talked a little about the fouling.

The Lakers kept on fouling and the Jazz benefited from it by going to the line and staying aggressive. And let’s forget about Crawford for a second and understand that the Jazz we bullying their way to the basket. If you’re defending those types of plays/players, you must play better position defense and cut off driving angles in order to make the offensive player stop, change directions, pass, etc. The Lakers didn’t do any of those things, rather they reached more and were late on rotations. And on a couple of occasions they just let the Jazz go right by them seemingly saying, “score or miss, I’m not going to foul right now”. This happened with Gasol letting AK47 get right to the basket and miss a layup and Odom letting Harpring do the same. Next game we must do better.

Expect the game not to be called as tight and a more physical contest. The Jazz are likely to try to ugly it up. Both teams need to adjust to that.

For Utah, Memhet Okur is a game-time decision, although reports in the morning papers out of Salt Lake call him unlikely. That really hurts Utah, they need him to pull Gasol or Bynum out to the three-point line, opening up the paint when D-Will drives the lane. There was very little pick-and-roll from the Jazz without him in the lineup.

The Lakers did a very good job in the first half of last game in inducing the Jazz into jumpshots (and they are not a good jumpshooting team). The Lakers again need to dare them, and to keep them out of the paint.

Bottom line tonight — I don’t care if there is a “We Want Tacos” chant or not, although you’d like to think in the playoffs fans would have more important things to care about. But I hope there is reason for the chant.

Kurt

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329 responses to Lakers/Jazz Game Two Chat

  1. Harold, while what you say is true to a point, where Hollinger is wrong is that he discredits those numbers and then is all about a different set of numbers. You want to look at intangibles then you have to say that Utah is better than Arizona because Utah is just a better team the Arizona, wins be damned. Personally, I only bring the numbers into the discussion because it provides something empirical to illustrate my point, the Jazz simply are not a typical eight seed.

    All of that being said, however, the fact is that the Lakers could be playing a lot better. The defense could be better, and I think that while the offense is firing pretty well, we could still stand to show some more poise at that end. Either way, though, we just need to keep winning.

  2. The Dude Abides April 21, 2009 at 11:03 pm

    All these refs needed to do in order to get this game under control in the 4th quarter was call a flagrant on Collins when Shannon drove the lane at the start of the quarter. It was an obvious flagrant, maybe even a flagrant two, as he fouled him hard at first, then threw him down to complete the play.

    If that had been called a flagrant, perhaps then the game doesn’t get chippy. Instead, the refs saw that (1) the Jazz thought they could get away with murder, so they whistled them for a bunch of touch fouls, and (2) the Lakers had been angered by the non-flagrant, so they whistled them for a number of touch fouls.

    Those types of fouls had rarely been called in the first three quarters, but they felt they had to call them in the 4th to get the game back under control. Well, all they had to do was call the flagrant on Collins. At least they didn’t call a flagrant on Lamar in the final two minutes for that hard foul on Brewer. Anyway, I find this happens fairly often in the NBA when obvious flagrant fouls are not called. The team that got fouled hard then gets angry and more physical, the team that got away with no flagrant becomes more emboldened, and the refs have to call touch fouls to get the game back under control. Just make the right call in the first place, so this doesn’t happen. Geez.

  3. I actually liked that too. I remember specifically last year in the Finals Justin Timberlake standing and waving his arms, urging the people around him to stand and cheer too. That’s the kind of enthusiasm we need to show. We sometimes judge celebs harsher, but Timberlake seems genuine.

  4. Earlier on in this chat there was a discussion about the Jazz not really being dangerous and that as fans we shouldn’t really be concerned as we should definitely win this series. Overall, I agree with that sentiment, but tonight’s game shows that my concern over our play is something that needs to carry over for the rest of this series and as we advance.

    Tonight the Jazz showed that any team with a truly great player (like Williams obviously is) can hang in any given game and push any team to it’s limit. That’s especially true when the better team doesn’t play a complete game and has mental lapses and gives inconsistent effort as we did tonight. We continued to not do a good job on Jazz players not named Deron and it made this game closer than it should have been. Relaxed box outs, bad helping on screens, playing in between in help situations (where we’re not really helping on Deron but not guarding our man either), and just playing in a loose manner were all too prevalent in this game.

    When you add those things to Andrew’s inability to catch and make a move without turning the ball over for the last three quarters, some questionable “playmaking” by every single ball handler at some point during the game, the over reliance on jumpshots when Pau was killing on the low block, and our lack of good screen setting to free up players for easier looks you end up with a game that should have been 15-20 points the entire game and turn it into a 9-11 point game that is stressful at the end. And even though I think Reggie Miller is Captain Obvious, one point he kept making was that when you allow a team with a player as good as Williams to keep it that close, the outcome *is not* guaranteed turned out to be true. I hate to say it again, but we must play better.

    One thing I am looking forward to though is going to SLC to play. That may sound strange, but Kobe has always, especially in the playoffs, stepped up his game when we play on the road. I can recall game after game in San Antonio, Sacramento, Utah, etc that he has had ridiculous production and led us to wins. I want the rest of the team to follow his lead and also see big games from Pau, Bynum, and some of our bench players as well. We have it in us to sweep this team, but we must raise our execution level and play a more consistent game over a full 48 minutes.

    On a side note, Odom was tremendous tonight. His defense and shot making were stellar throughout the entire night and I think he deserves some major credit for how he played. He’s always been a strong performer for us in the post-season and tonight he was at it again.

  5. Last year Odom got a lot of flak because unfortunately he had to go up against one of the greatest defensive PFs in KG. But interestingly, it seems like this year Odom should have a mismatch in all rounds – Dirk, Bonner, Aldrige, and whoever else are not great defensive players. Ben Wallace is, but Odom is too quick for Wallace. So it’ll be interesting to see if Odom can keep this production level up in all rounds, or if he’ll fall back to inconsistency. I think we’ll naturally see some drops in his play (it’s who Lamar is) but I don’t think we’ll see him disappear like he did in the Finals last year, I think he’ll redeem himself during this year’s playoff run.

  6. Kobe is 100% right when he says that Utah is not a true 8 seed…

    #245…not nearly as funny as ShanWOW calling D-Will Daryl his post-game interview with Patty O…LOL!!!

  7. What’s beautiful about this game is that I never felt very threatened. Even when they cut it to 5 or 6 or whatever in the 4th…even with Kobe passing the ball 3/4 of the court with the Jazz already back. That says we’re overconfident. Quite frankly, even in the playoffs you can tell that the Lakers are bored. They are clearly (and i don’t think it’s really arguable) the most talented team in our league. They are playing through three rounds vs teams that aren’t considered title contenders. It will be interesting………

    or maybe we just go 12-0 before we snatch those rings.

  8. Peanut Butter Spread April 22, 2009 at 12:46 am

    Happy Birthday to Jack Nicholson!! Glad the Lakers etched out a win on his 72nd!

    Also, I don’t think the Pistons (healthy and currently constructed) have a stone’s chances in defeating the Jazz in a 7 game series. Especially a healthy Jazz.

    Like Kobe said, the Jazz are not a conventional 8th seed. Heck none of the 2-9 WC teams are conventional 8th seeds.

    LO’s help defense on D-Will down the stretch was awesome. I just wish he’d get in the paint more for some of them rebounds.

    Oooh … if Shannon is mispronouncing D-Will’s name, then I’m having a horrible flashback to when Tracy Mcgrady last year wouldn’t say his name correctly. Careful there Shannon.

  9. Well, I agree that Utah is not a ‘true’ 8 seed in that there’s very little that separates them and, say, the Mavericks or the Hornets.

    But I still think they are what they are, and will not do markedly better than Detroit, especially with Okur out of the lineup.

    Anyway, I am waiting for a Pau takeover that’s long overdue. He is a legitimate franchise player who got his team to the postseason before, and perfectly capable of taking over for a game.

    As for Lamar, I wonder why it is that we suddenly see him playing better. Is it because he has lost all burden by playing off the bench?

  10. Dikembe Mutombo post game: “For Me, Basketball is Over.”

    That is sad. I, for one, will miss the finger wag.

  11. I still remember Mutombo at Denver in the days past, a block monster for sure.

  12. Peanut Butter Spread April 22, 2009 at 1:49 am

    I feel so terribly about Dikembe Mutombo. I wanted to see him play forever and ever. such a great guy.

    I wish Mutombo all the best.

  13. Darn mutombo had always been a favorite of mine…

    Remember Dikembe’s pure joy when Denver won over seattle in the first round of the playoffs?

  14. the other Stephen April 22, 2009 at 6:57 am

    man…DEKE was an incredible boon to houston as a franchise and city. he remains one of my favorites.

  15. 310

    I knew it was over when I saw that replay. It’s a shame, because apart from everything else about him the man can still play basketball.

  16. Really, once again the game was kept close by a 9-0 Jazz run to close the 2nd quarter. After that, we closed quarters pretty strongly which led to us playing them even in quarters 3 and 4.

    But I have to agree with Darius – on offense, whoever getting covered by Boozer or Millsap (Bynum / Pau) needs to get the ball and go to work. Too many jumpshots.

    I will say, however, that although Bynum was clearly out of rhythm offensively (maybe trying too hard to draw a foul), his sheer physical presence on offense prevented the doubles on Pau that took us out of what we wanted to do in the post.

  17. The Lakers’ ebb of energy and intensity after gaining a sizable lead is intriguing. I wonder what will it take to shake them out of it, if anything will shake them out of it. A loss? A home loss, perhaps?

  18. Basketball as a whole is now a little less joyful with the loss of Mutombo. He is arguably the best human to ever play the sport, both on and off the court. You wish after all he’s done, after all he’s given to others, after all the lives he touched, that he’d at least be able to leave the game on his own terms. Basketball has lost one of its greatest heroes today, but hopefully basketball’s loss will be the world’s gain. Mutombo is such a great person and great competitor, so even having to go around the world in crutches won’t stop him from giving his time and his joy to the people around him. I will miss Dikembe Mutombo. Basketball will miss Dikembe Mutombo.

  19. http://lakers.freedomblogging.com/2009/04/21/bynum-fighting-through-pain-on-the-outside-of-his-knee/15569/

    I’ve had this before – it’s really not something that goes away on its own. The pain can be mitigated by PT / stretching, but it’ll last until the off season when he can rest.

  20. 304, Darius,
    “the over reliance on jumpshots when Pau was killing on the low block”

    That’s been an issue all season; with the way defenses focus on Kobe, and the offensive skill of Pau (shooting and passing), and to a lesser extent Bynum, why do anything else?

  21. I think people may be forgetting that this is really the first extendfed playoff experience for three of the Laker key players – Shannon, Ariza, and Bynum. Two of these three have really come up big and the third is learning quickly what it is all about. The talking heads aren’t saying anything about this lack of Laker experience, but we should be glad the series is as tough as it is for these people.

  22. Firstly, on the game, I’m taking a lot of joy in these wins. Offensively, we seem to mostly be back on track. Granted, the porous Utah “defense” is exaggerating the appearance of things. But overall, the offense has looked awesome and it seems like everyone is trusting each other. Defensively, the Lakers showed in the first half of the first game, and to some extent the first half of the second game, that they are capable of executing the plan and making the other team look very very very bad.

    Goodness, Deron Williams showed how astronomically good he was last night. I know in my head that he’s a top tier player, but the way he can score and distribute simultaneously is pretty phenomenal. 35 points on 65.2% eFG , (6 made three pointers), 4 rebounds, 9 assists, and 2 blocks. His only negative is the 7 turnovers. That is an impressive stat line. But more than that, I was impressed watching him. Those weren’t a quiet 35 points and 9 assists. He was definitely making his mark. Utah has to be thinking about how to build around him. Get him a true big man.

    I’m okay with the Lakers being a little bit flip the switch with the Jazz. They have demonstrated that the Jazz are not on the same level and this team has shown over and over again that they will get up for the big games. Being that they’ve built leads of 22 and 20 in the first half, it’s hard for me to blame them for not bringing the effort. (I mean, if you finished your work at 11am, would you be going 110% until 5pm?) Blowing a team out in game 1 or 2 of the first round doesn’t logically translate into winning game 3 of the finals. Different teams, different month, different situation. It’s not going to transfer. These were both fairly convincing wins. I’m happy.

    I respect what Mutumbo did off the court immensely but I never liked him as a player. I hope he ends up being alright after surgery, if needed.

  23. Apologies for the double post, I wanted to say that I also have iliol-tibial band friction syndrome, which it sounds like Andrew is dealing with. It doesn’t affect your power, it’s just very very painful when it gets inflamed. Sometimes it can flare up withing 20 minutes of running and sometimes it’ll wait hours. The pain can definitely affect how you run, jump, or pedal as the pain tells your brain to stop doing what it’s doing. Rest and stretching are the orders of the day. I’ve never gotten mine to go completely away.

    I’m sure you can google it, but basically the band that runs from your butt to your shin along the outside of your leg gets inflamed as it rubs against your knee because it’s too tight or something. There isn’t really a proven effective surgery. It’s just a repeated-use injury that can be helped along, but it’s very difficult to get rid of, in my experience.

  24. nomuskles – exactly. I’m sure Bynum has access to all sorts of cutting-edge PT techniques (although perhaps none as good as my trusty old foam roller), but as long as he’s still playing and practicing he’s going to have to deal with the effects.

  25. Solid playoff win. Of course, I will now point out all I didn’t like about the game. Two things stood out: 1) Phil should (as he admitted) shorten the rotation a little bit (Trevor should get 30-35 mins in my opinion). 2) Bynum played very selfishly, each time he got the ball there was no survey of the defense, no pass out and re-post, just turn and shoot. If Gasol doesn’t do that, no way Bynum should be. I still think he’s working on getting back into form, but there is no reason for him to be the focal point of our offense. He needs to move the ball, he’s a good passer.

  26. Scariest quote of the year, from David Thorpe (concerns about the Lakers):

    “Only that they might be falling into the old Pistons pattern of turning it on and off. But I’m not concerned, yet.”

    That point really hits home given how consistently frustrating the Pistons were for years.

  27. The biggest thing that I think bothered me with yesterday’s game, and with game 1 as well, is the same as earlier in the season. The Laker’s don’t do sweeps well. Look at what the Spurs repaid the Mavs with for beating them in game one; complete humiliation and destruction. (“We are THE SPURS. Fear us!”) I can’t see our Laker team of this year doing that.

    We can call it being “a finesse team”, “bored”, “conserving energy” or whatever we want. The pattern is that we get ourselves a 20-point lead and then immediately slow down, for any of the above reasons–I get the impression that this Laker team is one that will never play any harder than they have to to win. And they can play hard, they can explode, just look what they did on that February road trip right after Bynum went out with an injury. But in this first playoff round they don’t have to do that to win, so they don’t. Instead, they coast, stand back a little bit, and then they step it up again around the 6-minute mark on the 4th, to make sure that they still get the win.

    That annoys me. Aside from looking arrogant, I don’t think it’s nearly as safe to do it in the playoffs as it was during the regular season.